MONCTON, N.B. — A Toronto Argonauts regular season “home game” will be the highlight attraction when the Canadian Football League (CFL) comes to Atlantic Canada next season.
“When we say this is our league, we mean it belongs to all of Canada, and every one of our fans, from coast to coast,” said CFL Commissioner Mark Cohon.
“So we’re thrilled to bring a regular season game to Atlantic Canada for the very first time, and we invite our fans and friends from across the region to join us in Moncton for what I know will be a great time.”
• The game will feature the Toronto Argonauts as the “home team”, probably against a Western opponent.
• It will be played in September, 2010.
• Local officials are working to organize a weekend long festival that will include parties, music, family fun and plenty of football.
• A portion of game proceeds will be used to set up a legacy fund to support minor football programs throughout Atlantic Canada.
He said tickets will be reasonably priced, in keeping with the league’s fan- friendly mantra of “accessibility, affordability and authenticity.” To receive all the latest information as it becomes available, fans can sign-up today for exclusive access at CFL.ca/Moncton.
The game will be played before as many as 20,000 fans at the Université de Moncton.
The event has been made possible through the support of the CFL, the Government of Canada through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, the Province of New Brunswick, and the City of Moncton.
“This nationally televised event will create economic activity, tourism and tremendous profile for Moncton and Atlantic Canada,” said the Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence and Minister for the Atlantic Gateway.
“It is through our government’s Economic Action Plan that we are supporting events like this, which contribute to the development of strong viable communities that are at the heart of economic competitiveness and creating and maintaining good-paying jobs now and into the future.”
New Brunswick Premier Shawn Graham credited members of his caucus, including Moncton North MLA Mike Murphy, who first spoke to him about the idea, and Moncton East MLA Chris Collins, who has helped drive it.
“With the Canadian Football League coming to New Brunswick, this is another opportunity to highlight Moncton and our province to the rest of Canada,” said Graham. “The weekend football event will result in major economic benefits for the Greater Moncton area and our whole province.”
Michael Murphy, Minister of Justice and Consumer Affairs and MLA for Moncton North, has nothing but praise for the CFL.
“We are truly grateful to CFL Commissioner Mark Cohon, the league’s board of governors and the Toronto Argonauts,” said Murphy. “This event not only helps expand the CFL’s national footprint, it helps solidify Moncton and New Brunswick’s reputation as a leading entertainment hub.”
Moncton Mayor George LeBlanc said he’s hopeful the first regular season game in CFL history in Atlantic Canada will become an annual event.
“We’re going to work tremendously hard to showcase our great city in a way that will make everyone want to come back next year, and the year after,” he said.
“In our view, Moncton is hosting a mini-Grey Cup, a celebration not only of Canadian football, but of our pride in being Canadians. And we’re going to show the country what an Atlantic Canadian welcome is all about.”
Toronto Argonauts President and CEO Bob Nicholson remarked, “We are thrilled that the League has chosen the Argos to be the home team for the first-ever CFL regular season game in Atlantic Canada. When the Toronto Argonauts played in Halifax in 2005, we promised the citizens of Moncton that we would play there and are excited that we can finally deliver on that promise.
“The Argos are committed to building the CFL game throughout Canada and bringing our game to the East Coast helps do this. As well, we look forward to creating packages to attract our season ticket holders and fans to the Province of New Brunswick for this historic event.”
Cohon agreed there has been some talk of turning the game into an annual event, but everyone involved wants to take the process one step at a time.
“We’re excited about the possibilities, and very grateful to all levels of government for working together to make the game here a reality,” Cohon said. “For decades, Atlantic Canadians have come to the Grey Cup. Now we get to bring a little taste of the Grey Cup experience to Atlantic Canadians, and that’s one of the most exciting things I’ve been a part of as our Commissioner.”